Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 29-05-2008, 22:35   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: South Louisiana
Boat: Sea Sprite 34
Posts: 21
Where do I begin?

I bought a used sailboat - it floats, the wind blows it around, its great. However now I am faced with the daunting task of trying to figure out what the hell I need to keep my beer cold and the nav lights shining all night and whether I need to sell a kidney to make the boat energy self sufficient.

Boat has:

24 hp universal diesel engine

Two identical big ass and completely dead batteries name/ amps unknown assuming they are gel as one is mounted sidways, setup in two banks, one starting - one house.

external voltage regulator

a/c battery charger that may or may not work

breaker panel for d/c and a/c

shore power look like it goes to battery charger and 3 outlets

perko 4 position islolator switch for 2 banks

vhf

short wave radio

radar

gps

autohelm

am/fm with cassette!



Boat wants:
(I want)
batteries that work
batterycharger that works
alternator with or without external voltage regulator (is this necessary?)
wind generator and solar panels to maintain batt power under way, on the hook or when I dont pay my slip rent.
refridgeration in ice box
airconditioning for dockside
inverter that can maybe brew a pot of coffee, recharge a drill/handheld vhf/laptop but not all at the same time or very often

Basically I want to be able to take power from wind, solar, diesel engine and shore power and be able to charge some batteries and operate some electrical equipment.

How many banks do I need?
Do I need a designated starting battery?
Is there a battery charger that integrates mulitple power sources?
Is this going to cost more than the boat?

Forgive me for my unfocused and extensive ramblings, this is my first post and these questions have been building up.

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance
__________________

__________________
Born to Cruise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 02:41   #2
Moderator
 
Boracay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Pelican Bay, Great Sandy National Park
Boat: Steel Roberts Offshore 44
Posts: 5,175
Images: 18
Did it ever work?

To me the first question that you need to answer is "How much of this ever worked?".

To some extent it sounds like it all worked at some time but the the batteries died.

My suggestions
- buy Nigel Calder's excellent book "Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual" and use it to check all your boats systems.
- check the electrolyte level in the batteries.
- check that the AC circuit is properly fused.
- turn on the charger and see if the batteries take a charge.

Comments
- some people like external voltage regulators.
- battery capacity does not sound like enough.
- if replacing batteries consider combining starter and house batteries (using the same type - T105?) and adding additional batteries.
__________________

__________________
Rust never sleeps
Boracay Blog.
Boracay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 03:20   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
Alan Wheeler's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Marlborough Sounds. New Zealand
Boat: Hartley Tahitian 45ft. Leisure Lady
Posts: 8,038
Images: 102
Take a browse through our "Study Hall" articles. We are slowly growing some great info in there. Also slowly work through the posts in this Topic Forum. There are some awesome discussion explanations and advice buried here. I can offer some advice, but that and much more is already buried here. Do continue to ask specific questions if you come across anything that sparks interest.
__________________
Wheels

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
Alan Wheeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 10:00   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: South Louisiana
Boat: Sea Sprite 34
Posts: 21
I know alot of the equipment on the boat is dated and I will eventually upgrade everything. Right now I would like to have an idea of how the ideal setup should be and then work to include as much as I can with what I have. I know I need new batteries and new charging system (both a/c and alternator). I am currently working on determining my power needs which is hard becasue I am not sure what is actually going to end up on the boat and what is just day dreaming (ie watermaker). I guess an expandable battery bank would be good for that issue, maybe golf car batts? In the near future I want to integrate solar and wind generators so I want a device to manage the power from those sources as well as the alternator when engine is running and charger when shoreside. I don't even know if this decvice exist. Not to make things real complicated but I would like to have an inverter that would power my a/c outlets when disconected from shore power.

I have ordered the Nigel Calder book which looks great - thanks for that advice.

Looking through the past posts I can glean alot of information but without a solid idea of how I want to set up my boat I still feel lost as to where to start. Is the question I am really asking "What is the ideal setup?" and if so... how can I ask that without the full scope of intended use?
__________________
Born to Cruise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 11:11   #5
Eternal Member
 
imagine2frolic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
Posts: 4,508
Images: 123
Why don't you just slow down a wee bit. Upgrade the alternator, and any rebuild shop can do that for you. Get some good batteries that fit in place of what you have. Just get things running with what you have. You can add solar, wind, chargers,etc, etc, as money allows. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are cruising boats. Welcome to the MADNESS of sailing. It's all about BLOOD, scraped knuckle, SWEAT, hard work, & TEARS money spent!!!!!!!!!
__________________
imagine2frolic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 15:16   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
Alan Wheeler's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Marlborough Sounds. New Zealand
Boat: Hartley Tahitian 45ft. Leisure Lady
Posts: 8,038
Images: 102
I2F offers good logic. Partly, the question you are asking is more towards "How long is a piece of string". You asked where do you begin. Well begin by new batteries. Without them, you don't have anything. Along with the batteries, you need to be able to charge. So the beginning is new batteries and charger, which now brings in the difficult areas for us to answer. The rest comes down to your cruising style. Are you starting with day sail's or over nighters? If yes, you can get away with an engine start, which does not need to be huge for 24Hp, a small house bank the Alternator can handle, that's the one you have for now and an AC multistage charger capable of keeping the batteries in top condition while connected to shore power. That gets you going. You can then add in another house bank later if you need. The other elements such as Solar and Wind generation can be added later if you so want and when you can afford.
You have not said what and how big the boat is. That would be helpful. But I suspect you want to look at power saving as much as possible, so LED lighting could be a goo option. 24Hp does not allow you much in the way of excess Hp to run too many additional's. How much room do you have for a genset?? Water making can be powered by either electric or by engine driven. It depends on the length of string you have.
__________________
Wheels

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
Alan Wheeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 15:37   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,138
From the size of your engine I would guess that you have a 32-34 ft boat. As you intend to put in refrigeration I would suggest a house bank of approx. 400amps of AGM batteries and a suitable starting battery. For shoreside charging a 40 amp, smart charger such as a Statpower. For engine charging a small case Balmar and a smart regulator. For wind charging a KISS which works well unregulated. For solar, 2 100watt panels and a charge controller. An estimate for the the above gear would be about $4500. This does not include any wiring and, in all likelihood, you'd need to upgrade the wiring. So you see,as already stated by others, you have to go slowly and determine what your immediate needs are. If you're in a slip and don't intend to go cruising for a while then you can just upgrade the batteries and shore power charger for now. This'll do you for weekend cruising. The next step would be the Balmar and when you're ready to take off, the wind and solar. Put the fridge in first, you'll need those cold beers.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 15:46   #8
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Starting with dead batteries is good. With a poor system design that is where they all end up. Batteries may become dead and worthless with a poor design so hold on to your wallet as battery prices are through the roof. The were high well before oil prices and not headed down. This is all the more reason to take those few steps back mentioned. You really want them to last a very long time.

The best place to start is with a wiring diagrams of your boat and identify all the parts of it and get the docs on them so you can start to work from specs. You have to make what you have into something you need. If you replace everything it could be $1,000 in round numbers. Now you see why matching everything to the job matters. This is not small money. I didn't include much for solar or wind power in the the $1000 either. Vasco has those numbers a bit more accurate. This stuff ain't cheap.

In the 1960's sailboats took off with fiberglass. They didn't have much for power back then. Now we have everything and power is something you come to terms with the hard way or the smart way. You now know the hard way - all your batteries are dead.

Good news! we have as much electrical battery information as you should require. If you really want to crack the energy efficiency issue you need to go to school.

Volts X Amps = Watts aka Power!

That is the first lesson and if you never learn much else this one has the key. You will need to lean how much power things take and you need to understand battery capacity.

You could be spending a LOT of money on these new batteries and you need the system set up right so you can get a nominal 7 years from them. batteries don't last forever even when you do things right. You want all the battery you need but no more than you need. A battery drained has to be fully reloaded to get the best return on investment. If you added 20 batteries you probably could not recharge them. You never drain a battery below 50% of it's capacity. When you charge you want a smart 3 stage (or better) charge controller. You charge a battery differently as it begins to recharge. It can start out with a lot then goes down. This is charge acceptance.

All the above outlines the really difficult concepts that all matter and you can not change them. The devil is in the details and that means understanding how you use power so the system can handle you! This where you learn about what power you need and don't need. You have to reduce power consumption to win on the power charging side.

Take a trip through the threads on electrical systems it 's a big issue and has been discussed many times by some folks that really know this stuff. Work up a written plan and perhaps make some diagrams. If you post them it will be easier to help you through some of the hard stuff.

You have a goal so now you need to learn how to make it happen. Forget the dream and get into really doing it!
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2008, 15:51   #9
DWT
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 207
Born to Cruise,

As said before you want to take your time here. A system you have and want will need alot of thought. I would start by tracing ever wire in the boat, ask yourself is this a good way to do it on can it be improved upon. Your going to come up with a few" what the hell is that for" or " I think this can be done a better way".
It sounds like you got a nice panel to work from. Make everything start at the panel, it eats up alot of wire but it is the right way of doing it.
Check and see while your looking it all over that all of the wire is marine grade, is it the right size, is it damaged?
When it come to the electrical system on a boat there is no substitute for doing it right.
If you are going to add or move batteries think about weight. And the best tool is the internet and this forum. There is alot of information out there for you to read.

Good Luck and keep us posted on how it is working out.

David
69Morgan30'
CarolAnn
__________________
DWT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-05-2008, 10:12   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: South Louisiana
Boat: Sea Sprite 34
Posts: 21
Consider me slowed, I am looking at trying to replace my batteries with same type that I found on the boat. I currently have two walmart marine batteries sitting next to the biggun’s that powered the boat on its way to its new home. Alternator charges in 2 second bursts and runs the walmarts up to 16 volts yikes!

The original batteries were, I am convinced, installed by wizards of dark magic. Masters of manipulating space and solid matter they managed to put a battery through a hole, where the battery is physically bigger than the hole itself – amazing. I am procrastinating a little on the project just so I don’t have to break out the sawzall on my setee.

Alan, LED’s are definitely on my list and my boat is a 34’ Sea Sprite, not much room for a genset, unless I could use something like the new Honda portables.

Vasco, I am looking at the brands you mentioned, that’s good stuff, these are the kind of things I am looking for but until now have been unaware of.

Pblais, I am definitely working with some dead batts, the boat was moored for 3 years neglected when I found her. I like the electrical overview and I am sure that before this is all over with I will feel like Nicholi Tesla. I am going to have to make my own wiring diagram, I can track down Mr. Clarke Ryder (boat builder) as my boat came with just projects and no intructions.

Dwt, I like that idea of tracing all wires down (will help with my new self drawn wiring diagram) I really don’t like to leave any thing half-assed and I have a tendency to perfect (at least in my mind) my projects so I can relate to “doing it right”. I am a little humbled that I have to slow my pace which is usually not the case in my past projects. However I am realizing that this what its all about. A man spending time with his boat.

My new priority list:
Have alternator tested
Hire wizard to remove old batteries and replace
Track down manual for external voltage regulator
Trouble shoot charger / replace charger?
Thinking maybe take two wal mart batts and create third bank, isolate and use them as starting batts only?

News….
As I was writing this my girlfriend hands me an overstuffed envelope, stuff from the boat…including but not limited to

Balmar Alternator Installation and Owners Manual - good sign right?
Sonnensschein Batteries Warranty with a a hand written battery description DF4D 12 4D
Okay now I can’t wait to go back to the boat to check this out… Why is my boat almost two hours away, dammit !
__________________
Born to Cruise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-05-2008, 13:42   #11
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Quote:
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']I am sure that before this is all over with I will feel like Nicholi Tesla. [/FONT]
I believe he is already dead. You should hope to feel better<g>.

Quote:
Why is my boat almost two hours away, dammit !
I just hate that when it happens. what would Nicholi do? Once you conquer electricity Time and space should be next on the list. With all three there won't be anything stopping you.

I would hold off on the dime store batteries for now. When you get a little bit smarter you might want to go another way. A pair of group 4's would be my choice. AGMS if you can charge them properly else good flood batteries. It really pays to get the nice thick plates. Group 4's are possible to carry where group 8's you need hired thugs to lug them around.
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-05-2008, 14:34   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: South Louisiana
Boat: Sea Sprite 34
Posts: 21
Mastering space and solid matter will be the next task before mastering energy, if I can't recharge the gel batteries (eternal optimist) in the boat I may have to cut them out. Something I am not looking forward to.

The wally world batts were to get me home and for $100 apeice with a great warranty I wouldn't be so heart broken if I fried them.

To replace the batteries I believe to be in the boat will cost me about $900. I am thinking in that range I may have different, dare I hope, better options?

Are group 4's same as 4D's?

Why can't i just get a custom made keel that is really a giant flooded cell battery that has a hydrogen reclaimer that powers my generator? - sweet perpetual energy. I think thats another thread though.
__________________
Born to Cruise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-05-2008, 15:21   #13
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Quote:
Are group 4's same as 4D's?
Yes there are.
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 04:54   #14
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,580
Images: 240
The battery group size merely indicates the approximate exterior dimensions (including terminals) and voltage of the battery in question. However, the exact dimensions can only be directly obtained from each manufacturer.

BCI Group 4D batteries are: 12V Nom. (6 Cell) @ 20.75" L x 8.75" H x 9-975" W
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 21:08   #15
Moderator Emeritus
 
Ex-Calif's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Boat: Maxi 77 - Relax Lah!
Posts: 11,514
Images: 4
Pictures tell a thousand words. It is nice to have schematic diagrams for what other people have done. The difficulty sometimes lies in that based on the particualr person's philosophy the electrical schematic can be quite different. In other words there are more than a couple of ways to skin the electrical cat.

I agree with the others in that if you have a "dead" system, job 1 is understanding and diagraming the current system and then getting the current system up and running again.

After that you can consider a building block approach to adding power sources and options. Here is an interesting idea on a Catalina.

Home Page Brochures* Contribute Cool stuff Database FAQ Fleets For sale* Gallery** History JOIN Links Mailing List Manuals Message

Here is a more traditional system setup:

Electrical System Details

I'd be interested to see other people's schematics as they added bells and whistles and charging sources...
__________________

__________________
Relax Lah! is For Sale <--- Click
Click--> Custom CF Google Search or CF Rules
You're gonna need a bigger boat... - Martin Brody
Ex-Calif is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
HOw did you begin witchcraft Families, Kids and Pets Afloat 31 12-12-2007 10:45
Where to begin.... familyafloat Families, Kids and Pets Afloat 6 29-04-2007 15:03



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 18:19.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.